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Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

Right now, forget about marketing. Go walk your dog!

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm

These days, you’ll hear plenty about how today’s parents are so obsessed with their careers, their social lives, and their Pilates that they are paying less attention to their children. That’s often cited as one reason for things like childhood obesity, video game addiction, and the disappearance of  “family” dinners.

Now I have no research to support this, but my guess is that there are other, even more silent victims of our oh-so-busy schedules. And that should give us pause. Or, paws. That’s right – our dogs. We just get so busy sometimes that we just don’t have time to take that critter who lives with us for the one thing she dreams about all day  long.

If you’ve ever taken an eager dog for a walk, you KNOW  how much it means to them. Trotting alongside you, sticking a wet nose into bushes, following scents, disappearing into the high weeds along the roadside just “checking things out.” Can that 20 minutes possibly mean more to anyone else in your life? Will your boss lick your face if you stay a little later?

I’ll spare the pontification about how it does us good, too. That’s obvious. But even if there’s nothing involved here but guilt, fine. If you have shortchanged your dog lately with the excuse of your busy schedule, you should feel guilty. If you say you love your dog, and you want to be a responsible pet owner, GO GET THE LEASH!

I know right now if I looked toward my dog and simply asked “walk?”  she would jerk her head around to stare at me…give it a second to sink in…then gallop over and jump up on my lap, with her nose about an inch from mine. Her answer couldn’t be more clear if she spoke the king’s English.

With that much joy at stake, don’t let your day-to-day preoccupations become more important. A few years down the line when you’re taking that friend to the vet for the last time, you’d give anything for one more walk. And so would she.

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The best public relations “crisis plan”- have a good image to begin with!

In Just Thinkin', The Marketing Microscope on June 8, 2010 at 6:55 pm

For years, those of of us who work in (or teach) marketing communications have been relying upon a few aging case histories of public relations disasters. Our moldy old textbooks have presented the Tylenol “tainted capsule” deaths in Chicago as an example of a company handling things quite well. The Exxon Valdez oil spill, however, has wallowed around in the “what not to do” end of that spectrum.

Recently – and unfortunately – we’ve come up with some marvelous new candidates we can use to update those textbooks. Do the names “Toyota” or “BP” ring any bells?

I don’t for a moment claim that either of those situations is done; obviously they are not. But I’ve seen plenty of Toyota’s “we’re working hard to fix things” commercials. And that Tony Blair-ish CEO from BP  is on TV more often than Two-and-a-Half Men, and seems every bit as sincere as Charlie Sheen’s character in that sitcom.

But as I watch those damage-control  efforts, it strikes me that whatever they say, it’s a little too late. The public’s opinion about these companies was largely formed long before either of these situations hit the news. And that’s why Toyota is already enjoying sales boosts again, while BP continues to dominate the headlines.

I did not do this research, but wish I had. Let’s say a year ago, you asked 100 people what they thought about each company. I’m quite convinced that the general opinion of Toyota would have been something like this (excluding those still guided by general anti-Japanese, buy-American sentiments):

“They sure make dependable cars, if not very exciting ones. I wish American car makers could really get the quality down like that, but they just can’t seem to do it. I guess if I wanted a car that would last longer, have good resale value, and not spend much time in the shop, I’d go with Toyota.”

For BP, my guess is the composite answer would be something like this: Read the rest of this entry »